First off a Weather update. We had a minor storm walk through and change this place from being a warm mud pit to being something that you’d think Christmas should look like, especially with the Christmas lights and decorations going up everywhere. Blowing snow turned the outlying areas into Condition 2 for a while, but McMurdo just got a bit windy and a little bit of snow. The temperature went down a few degrees to feel like a minimum temp of -24 outside (+18 ambient w/ max wind at 38 knots). That was yesterday though, and today it’s sunny with no clouds and bound to turn muddy again. (+28 ambient projected w/ wind around 12 knots making it feel about 0)
Second I wanted to note for those of you who were considerate enough to write me get wells (Thanks all), that I’m feeling better from the stomach stuff, but now have a sinus infection (AGAIN… UGGH!) that looks like it’s already on the mend given the quick intervention by medical and the lack of particulates down here. All is good and life is still dandy! On now to food…
I started my stay here with a day in the life of a McMurdo’n which talked about the quality of the food and how I thought people were nuts as it really wasn’t that bad. I thought on why people didn’t like the food included the fact that you get through the whole menu in about 2-3 weeks so it’s fairly easy to get sick of the repetition. What I learned in the several weeks since I wrote that was that, it’s not about the repetition at least for me. It’s about the quality of the ingredients.
Let me caveat this by saying they do have decent choices in my opinion occasionally. Things like fried chicken, spaghetti, lamb roasts, minestrone soup, chili, blazin’ redfish, etc., etc. The problem I’ve been having is that thing like Mediterranean Chicken Paella, Frieze Chicken and Rice, and Beef Pot Pie Casserole all are made with pre-processed food or the quality of the food itself is literally bland or unpalatable. This makes it hard on your body, as you can often tell the FNGs by the constant farts that are emitted, as well as hard on the mind. Until I held back and stopped trying to taste all the food and figured out what was not going to drive my GI mad I didn’t figured out that you really can survive on finding other decent things around here.
I really do miss my burritos though. God they are good! Not only that for about the price they are paying for us to eat a meal down here (or so I hear, this isn’t from the horses mouth) I could have a burrito a meal back home. Well not quite, but close. They now spend $5 dollars a meal per person for what we eat now. They (someone a bit nebulous) just got authorization to up that to $8 dollars a person (which would definitely get me a burrito!), however they authorized it at a point where food orders were complete on this years vessel so we are still going to get these crap $5 dollar meals till vessel next year (Jan 2007). I’m guessing that means more freshies for us (That’s the literal manifest for any perishable food, and I’m guessing it’s a military term), so at least we’ll get our lettuce!
Oh, speaking of which, in leui of burritos down here, I’ve become a sandwich man. (Oh and they already have a girl named Sandwich, so I’m keeping my nickname of Chipotle.) As I spoke of before, the bread is fresh around here (although they don’t really make decent buns of any sort, or pastries real well), so couple fresh bread with lettuce, pickles, sometimes tomatoes (YIPE!), and either roast beef, salami, turkey, corned beef, or some variation therein, and you have a find lunch & dinner. The sandwich line’s only open for lunch, but we can make it last…
Another sport we have around here is nibbling at good food, good drink, and good snacks. Those who’ve been down here for years ship the best stuff, which seems to be ingredients for a home cooked meal (which can be done at places like Hut 10, and elsewhere). Others ship things down things like I described before, packaged food of a different variety then we have now too also include decent wine! (OY!) I’m still not sure how that works, but I’m trying to figure it out.
I recently had a spaghetti meal down here which I probably would have classified as just okay back home. Someone brought down sausage, cheese, bell peppers, onions, garlic, decent spaghetti sauce, and noodles making a scrumptious meal that I couldn’t help but to go back for seconds. It’s really amazing what a home cook meal does for your spirits and mind. I’d have to agree with the comments I was overhearing earlier this week about how making the food better makes everything better here on station, morale goes up, moods get better, people are just happier. It’s an amazing fact that I’m not sure Raytheon has quite figured out…
“We’re all here, because we’re not all there,”